• Kyodo

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The United States expects Japan to work with Washington in bolstering deterrence to ensure peace across the Taiwan Strait amid China’s growing military pressure on Taipei, White House coordinator for the Indo-Pacific Kurt Campbell suggested Tuesday.

While acknowledging that Japan has no intention to take provocative actions or “stick its finger in China’s eye,” Campbell said at an online event hosted by The Financial Times that Tokyo “wants to state clearly that it is behind the status quo (on the Taiwan situation).”

“I believe that we will take appropriate behind-the-scenes steps with Japan on a host of efforts,” Campbell said, adding, “I think I’ll just leave it at that, that it’s designed to send a very clear message both to Taiwan, but as importantly to Beijing, about our determination to enhance deterrence and to make clear about our desire to ensure that Taiwan can live in peace.”

His remarks came as U.S. President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga affirmed in their joint statement issued after their meeting in Washington last month the importance of “peace and stability” across the Taiwan Strait.

The reference in a U.S.-Japan leaders’ statement to Taiwan — something that was last seen in 1969 — came as the two countries appear to be increasingly sharing their concerns over a more authoritarian and assertive China.

China has been stepping up pressure on the self-ruled island, which it regards as a renegade province awaiting reunification by force if necessary.

Its repeated incursions into Taiwan’s air defense identification zone and naval exercises it has conducted in nearby waters have heightened concerns over a possible Chinese invasion, which could draw the United States into a conflict with China due to its security assurances to the island democracy.

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